Fisherbabe already has picked out a fluffy winter hat to keep her ears warm during those chilly fishing trips.
Big Daddy Mike in the AZ fired out his clients’ ideas last week to get the jump. Cabela’s and Bass Pro have mail carriers’ bags sagging a bit more. Filson, a fave, had a special deal over the weekend as have online tackle merchants offering discounts.
Black Friday came and went with the psychotic flurry of bargain-shopping. We always hear about stores running out of televisions and computers, the crazies arguing over the last whatsit and, inevitably, a fight at a store somewhere. This year it was a brawl in California that shut down a giant mart.
I’ve never seen fishermen fighting over a swimbait. They might, I guess, if said swimbait was the last one, was on sale and was something they thought would catch Big Bertha – the greenish fish, not the big-haired broad on Aisle 7 among the laptops.
During my previous incarnation as an ink-stained newspaper wretch, my 17 readers (not counting family) often said the annual Christmas gift column was a favorite. One of my wife’s friends counted on it each year, which I suppose means her husband was able to avoid receiving neckties and socks. Bully for him!
We’ll be doing this each day this week with a different fishing- (or boating-) related theme in case you’re in need of some ideas to get a spouse, loved one or yourself. Today’s lineup includes lures. The clock’s ticking and Santa’s listening …
About 20 years ago I’d have rather chewed tinfoil than drag or pitch a jig, and then I got smart after repeated summer outings at a private lake learning about them. I’m still learning but would just about rather have a jig tied on if I had to pick only one.
California-based Jig Monster (www.jigmonster.com) has a fine lineup of its Chaos football jigs that come in five sizes and 24 colors, including “Bludgeon” that goes well with an Electric Blue trailer and “Brazen Bluegill” that works well in spring and summer.
For plunking the thick stuff, the new Hack Attack Extreme Heavy Cover jig from Strike King (www.strikeking.com) is a doozy. Designed by FLW champion Greg Hackney, it has a big round-bend hook, 30-degree line tie and is not for the faint of heart. Comes in five sizes and nine colors that will work anywhere.
The good thing about the variety of worms and designs is there’s something for everyone, and if you want to give something new a try there isn’t a lack of selection. From finesse worms to 10-inch (or larger) monsters, you can cover just about any situation possible.
It’s hard to beat the 7-inch worm, and the Berkley PowerBait (www.berkley-fishing.com) lineup has a solid selection of colors with the built-in punch of the company’s signature attractant. That “flavor” may just make a bass hang on a second or two longer to give you time to definitely detect the bite and put the steel to it. With five basic colors and an attractive ribbon tail, these work like a champ.
If you’re upsizing then don’t overlook the 10-inch Strike King Rage Anaconda and new Rage Thumper swimming worm. Both have the special “lip” on the tail that displaces water and creates unreal action on the fall or while swimming. The Anaconda also comes in a 7-inch version and the Thumper has a crease in the tail so you can clip it for a “cut-tail” presentation.
For finesse fishing the variety is endless, but two of my favorites are the Berkley 7-inch Slim Shakey Powerbait worm and the Northland Tackle (www.northlandtackle.com) Slurpies “Pro Series” Shakey Worm. I like the Berkley worm for a larger, but still subtle, presentation while the Slurpies offers a 4-inch size with a flat tail that vibrates just enough with a slight rodtip wiggle to entice bites.
Lucky Craft (www.luckycraft.com) definitely gets a look by any angler because of the success and intricate design in the baits. Consider the Big Daddy Strike and RC models for shallow cranking, with different sizes in each for stump-bumping and rock-banging. Don’t overlook the LV-500 lipless bait, either, because it’s a slammer, and the “Bull” wake bait that looks like a tangerine with hooks but brings up the big ones.
Bandit Lures (www.banditlures.com) is working on some new stuff for 2010 but its veteran lineup of reliable, affordable crankbaits are great additions to the tackle box. Two of my favorites are the Footloose “wake bait” and the 100 Series. Both are fantastic for shallow-water action in spring when bass are aggressive around cover and emerging vegetation.
Among the XCalibur (www.lurenet.com) lineup from Pradco, you’ll find the Zell Pop and Xj4 Jimmy walking bait, both of which will get the job done on calm mornings or when fish are chewing the paint off the bait. The 4-inch Jimmy has a slim profile that sashays on top and comes in eight solid colors. The Zell Pop was designed by veteran pro Zell Rowland and comes in two sizes and 11 colors, ready to splort and gurgle before being inhaled.
Back in the Lucky Craft stable, take a gander at the Gunfish … it’s a hybrid walking bait with a slender profile but also has a cupped face that spits. Another great one is the new T-Splash, which is a popping bait but also has a rear propeller that spits water up to 2 feet in front of the bait with a sharp snap. It’s a super bait.
Strike King’s new Eeliminator soft-plastic hybrid can be worked on top with a fast retrieve to make the 3-inch Rage tail churn water. Work it slowly about 3-4 inches under the surface like a critter just easing along, or even on a Texas-rig for a different look. Put it on a Mr. Blitz Peli-Lock Toad Toters weighted hook and you’ll be set.
For those aggressive days when you want to do some plowing, tie on a Stanley Ribbit (www.fishstanley.com/ribbit) with a weighed (or heavy unweighted) hook and start churning. The paddle feet gurgle like buzz saws and bass can’t stand it. They come in 28 colors and two sizes.
– Alan Clemons